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BEIJING - The South African Para- lympic men wheelchair basketball team's forward Richard Nortje and guard Nicholas Taylor believe a lapse in concentration at a crucial stage of the match cost them their encounter against Iran yesterday.
Iran beat them 73-62 in their opening Group A preliminary match at the National Indoor Stadium. Though the tie started as an evenly matched affair, the South Africans allowed Iran to outscore them 23-15 in the crucial third quarter.
Nortje and Taylor admitted that it was suicidal for them to lose focus in that period.
"The whole team has identified this quarter as a critical point for us in terms of performance. Once you are down in a hole like that, it's really hard to get out of it. We just didn't perform like we would have loved," said Taylor.
Added Nortje: "We were just not thinking about basketball in the third quarter. We made a bit of a comeback in the fourth, but it was too little, too late."
The South Africans, who are under the guidance of Vivian Sierra, are hoping to regroup at the expense of Canada, who they play at the USTB Gymnasium today at 11.45am.
Canada engaged Germany at the USTB Gymnasium yesterday, but the results of the match were not confirmed at the time of going to press.
Sweden defeated Japan 61-49 in another Group A preliminary yesterday.
South Africans also failed to prevail in the men's table tennis individual Class 7 yesterday when Johan du Plooy and Pieter du Plooy were beaten by their French and Danish opponents.
Johan du Plooy was beaten 11-8, 11-3 and 11-6 by Stephane Messi, while Pieter du Plooy succumbed to Peter Rosenmeier with a 11-2, 11-1 and 11-8 setback.